Grafted Into What? Romans 11

Wild and Cultivated Together

“For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?” Romans 11:24 (NASB).

Good or Cultivated: kalliélaios, kal-le-el’-ah-yos; a cultivated olive tree, i.e. a domesticated or improved one, Strong’s Greek Dictionary 2565—

KJV translates 2065 as good. However, cultivated, domesticated, or improved more closely aligned with the intent of this passage. The essence is “Nurtured by God,” Israel’s true husbandman. God was cultivating Israel while allowing the Gentiles, or nations, to grow unattended, wild.

The Church and its many denominations seem bewildered as to exactly what Paul was trying to express in Romans 11 when he said “Grafted In.” Lifting the fog, lets first begin with a brief introduction into the horticultural concept of grafting fruit-bearing plants:

Basically, grafting typically involves joining together parts of two plants to function as a single plant. One of the plants provides the lower trunk and root system. It’s called the stock or rootstock. The other plant provides the upper portion…stems, leaves, flowers and fruit… that has the desirable characteristics (beautiful flowers or delicious fruit) called the scion.

The roots of the stock provide water and minerals to the scion, the scion produces food in its leaves and send it down to the roots of the stock. This creates a functioning plant composed of two genetically different parts. (

For example, if you graft a Valencia orange into the trunk of a Hamlin orange, you get Hamlin oranges fed by the sweetness and goodness of the Valencia trunk and root. When you graft a God-fearing wild olive, a Gentile, into the trunk of the cultivated olive you get wild olives nourished and fed by the rootstock of the cultivated olive. Should you graft the wild olive branches into the good olive and leave good olive branches attached to the trunk as well…as in Romans 11:16-24…the result will be a tree producing both cultivated and wild olives at the same time—each on their own, individual branches fed by the same rootstock, father Abraham. The wild olive is a type symbolizing Gentiles who over the years hadn’t been cultivated by God, as Israel had been to produce good fruit. The people in Israel who were not producing good fruit were pruned from the cultivated tree and faithful Gentiles were grafted in—NOT into the nation of Israel but into the faithful, God-fearing rootstock, becoming children of father Abraham.

“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham,” Galatians 3:6-9 (KJV).

“and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised” Romans 4:12 (NASB).

Three1 types of trees are mentioned in Scripture to illustrate Israel. The VINE represents the whole house of Israel taken out of Egypt and planted in their own land, the faithful and unfaithful alike, (Psalm 80:8-11; Matthew 21:33). The FIG tree represents national Israel as a faithless nation deeply involved in religious practices yet bearing no fruit. Jesus symbolically cursed the fig tree (Mark 11:13-15) for being all show but having no fruit. Jesus used a similar illustration in Luke 13:6-9 and again in Luke 3:9, “. . . the axe is already laid at the root of the tree . . .” Jesus also uses the fig tree as a sign of the nearness of His future return in glory when a secular Israel is returning to the land with lots of show but still not producing fruit (today)…not yet trusting in Christ, Messiah, (Matthew 24:32-35).

Now we come to the confusing one, the OLIVE tree. What is confusing…and really shouldn’t be…is that in this metaphor the olive does NOT represent national Israel. It represents those of Israel who wholeheartedly respond to God’s call, the faithful of the nation…referred to as “cultivated.” Because of the hardness of their hearts many first-century Jews and their leaders rejected their King and Messiah, Jesus Christ. Those Jews who did not respond to the Gospel call in Acts 2 and subsequent are the branches who are pruned from the olive tree.

An important observation is this; Olives produce oil. Oil represents God’s Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4; Revelation 11). When oil is put into a lamp it produces LIGHT. That, child of God, is the whole purpose of both Israel and the Church. Imitating Jesus by walking in LOVE produces that light (1 John 4:8-21).

“I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations (Gentiles)” Isaiah 42:6 (NASB).

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:16 (NASB).

“. . . you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth)” Ephesians 5:8-9 (NASB).

“As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churchesRevelation 1:20 (NASB).

Believing, faithful Christians are grafted into the godly, cultivated olive. The cultivated olive has for its rootstock Abraham. His faith sustains and nourishes the entire olive tree, “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches,  Romans 11:16 (KJV). All who are of faith spring up out of the root of Abraham and are his children. The Church is not grafted into the nation of Israel. Nor does the Church replace Israel. The two form a unique union, a “family” of believers who place their faith in Christ Jesus.

The Israel we see today is prophetically being called back to the land (Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zachariah and others) but is not yet the Israel of God, “And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God”  Galatians 6:16 (NASB). In denial of who Jesus Christ is, they are not yet Cultivated, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” Romans 4:3 (KJV). Paul assures Israel that those who come to Christ Jesus will be grafted back into the good olive tree, Romans 11:24-36.

“for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable,”  Romans 11:29 (NASB).

What are the blessings & promises enjoyed by the children of Abraham?
Blessing: Justification through faith by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
THE PROMISE: “. . . in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faithGalatians 3:14 (NASB), and deliverance from the curse of the law, Christ being made a curse for the redemption of all who would believe unto eternal life (Gal 3:13).

just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. 8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.” 9 Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised (the wild olives), that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham (the good olives) which he had while uncircumcised Romans 4:6-12 (NASB).    

Exploring Scripture~because it matters
     It really does!

2 thoughts on “Grafted Into What? Romans 11

  1. Awesome new post. Thank you so much for sharing the meaning and insightfulness of the cultivated and wild olives. Please keep your posts coming…because they matter. You are appreciated.
    Praise our Glorious God.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s